Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Holiday Bonus

[This post owes its existance to Kate, whom I know from Knitty. Thanks!]

Holiday bonus...maybe this is a bit shallow, but for me the holiday season is a time when my talents--knitting, cooking, baking, singing--feel less like indulgence than something positive.

Mind, I don't sing professionally anymore. But we went to a Lessons and Carols service on Sunday, and in singing there it felt as though I was contributing to the happiness of the occasion and the people around me.

There are times, and plenty of them, when I feel guilty for knitting, or baking or (fill in 'hobby' here) during the daytime. This feeling has certainly intensified since I have been unemployed.

But in preparing for the holidays I am creating gifts for the people I like and love. These actions (or recreations) are producing something that will, I hope, make those people happy. And at least in the knitting, I am saving us some money. I have a very large stash of yarn. And vintage buttons. Very little has been spent on buying the raw materials for the gifts I have made this year.

So, in preparing for the holidays I get a bonus. The joy of giving, coupled with a kind of validation, give me a lift beyond the beauty of Christmas and the New Year.


Ami said...

I know what you mean, I struggle with that too sometimes, but then I remember that THAT is MY job. We may not get "paid" for it, but we work hard to take care of our loved ones and we give them much more than if we just went to the Mall. Keeping the house in order, fresh homemade food--those are things without price. And you inspire me to keep at it!

katesaid said...

Isn't it horrifying that we find a way to feel guilty about filling our unemployment days with knitting and other pleasant sorts of hobbies? It's not as though the knitting is somehow decreasing our likelihood of getting a job - I mean, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you're not facing a situation in which the knitting has entirely replaced your efforts at searching for jobs, or you're not saying, "No, I'm sorry, I can't attend an interview for that job: I'll be turning the heel on a sock tomorrow, I don't want to put that off."

But somehow that guilt creeps in anyway. I know it does, because I spent many months actively job-seeking after being laid off in 2008, and feeling guilty if I knitted even while job-site-surfing, much less just knitting all by itself. I stopped looking during my pregnancy, but I've noticed that should-should-should feeling starting to creep in again lately. Argh.

Ah, well. Such are the effects of our society on the female psyche, I think.

Thanks for playing along! The more, the merrier!

Eileen said...

Thanks for's good to get out of my writing rut!

katesaid said...

And, *ahem*, just as a reminder, Wednesdays keep rolling on by... Madhousey as ever.

I spent December in a very serious depression/medication reaction - turns out, Cymbalta is NOT the medication for me - and am just barely starting to feel like I'm coming back into myself. No idea what that really means, but I do know I'm feeling a bit less alien than before. Gonna come play sometime soon, give a New England girl a post-Christmas present??

But no worries.... I'll forgive you and love you either way.